Ann's Reviews > Zone One

Zone One by Colson Whitehead
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's review
Jul 03, 2012

really liked it
Read in June, 2012

There are only two times in the last 5 years that I've gotten deep into a book, gotten distracted by something else and returned to finish. I'm embarrassed by this habit, but one upside to it is that I know the books I come back to are really good. This one I restarted three different times.

A random note: Colson Whitehead has written a lot of books that are not about race per se but in which race features heavily as a thematic consideration, and all of the books I've read by him have black protagonists. The underplaying of race in this particular book (there's one explicit acknowledgment of a character's race very late in the book) got me thinking about how we reflexively identify with characters in books, assigning them familiar characteristics until/unless they are explicitly contradicted by the text (and sometimes not even then, as Hunger Games readers may recall). I don't have an actual point to make here, beyond the fact that I've been noodling on it here and there since I finished the book. (I should note that as a reader I'm particularly bad at retaining detailed physical descriptions of characters in books. Often there's no mental picture in mind as I'm reading. Most characters "look" like the icon you're assigned on a social networking site when you can't be bothered to upload a real picture.)
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